Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
The only certainty about our lives is that one day we are going to drop the body. This fact is the only thing that a sage and a sinner can in harmony agree upon. No matter how one has lived or abused his or her life, bereavement of our loved ones and eventually one’s own self is cast in iron.
But when one looks around or looks within, the way we go about our lives belies this philosophy of mortality. Our very thoughts, words and actions often are on the other side of the mortality barometer. It is as though in the flesh we are immortal or worse, we are going to be able to carry with us the fruits of labour, whether ill gotten or honest, to the other side.
So here is the scenario. We are going to drop the body or die, sometime in our physical journey and we are not going to carry with us any of the possessions or gains, be it material or that of worldly power, along with us. It does not matter whether if one is an atheist or believes in life in the spirit world, this reality of passing over without any possessions or power of the physical world is a certainty.
And yet our entire life is spent living as though we are eternal in the body or have some way of taking with us the spoils of our material world.
Yes, the need for comfort, security, even luxury, I get clearly. If through hard work one can create a better material life for oneself and loved ones, it makes perfect sense to strive for such a state of security. Just because one is going to leave the body, does not mean one should not live as well as one can, when in the body.
To pursue one’s dreams or fulfill an ambition that one has nurtured since a child, gives life a beautiful medley of joy. All this I get clearly and am completely in sync with this, but, what makes us behave like scheming hyenas….what makes us destroy those who come in our way during our climb to the top….what makes us cheat one’s own loved ones of their rightful inheritance…what makes us try to create a bank balance written with the blood of others…what makes us plot and scheme to get that extra bit which is not needed for survival but just another trophy in one’s blood drenched sack….what makes us behave like animals when one is certain there is no way one can cheat death or be able to take along with you anything apart from your karma you have amassed is something I do not get.
Please, I am part of the whole. I am certain I behave in a similar manner of crass self destructiveness. But I still don’t get it.
When we are sure that we can only take with us our karma and leave behind all else….when we are certain that no matter what, only our deeds are going to matter in the long exhausting marathon and yet we behave as though only what is here is real….this, kind of astounds me.
Life is a marathon and we still go about it as though it is a hundred meter dash. We are nuts.
Masters have come and gone, trying to make us see the real picture. This is not it…this is a small sigh in the larger scheme of things…this is not permanent…this will end…this is not it…but yet we live as though we are immortal and gloat in the glory of our three-dimensional gains.
Where are we going wrong? Does one get obsessively attached to a rental car? So attached that nothing else matters….not one’s very future….and you are aware that it is a rental car and one has to let go of it. How much ever you have enjoyed traversing in it and driving it and what not, it is a rental, you will have to let go…. you know it, everybody knows it, but you like a bull on viagra.
This so called life or body or material possession is like a rental car. It is important to make sure the car is kept well, taken care of, made as comfortable as possible. But imagine getting obsessed by this rental heap of iron. Killing, cheating, neglecting yourself, your wellbeing, your health and happiness over a rental and neglecting your loved ones too over something that is going to be taken away at some given time. Worst part being, you taking pride in something that is just a rental.
I guess this is what we are doing with our lives. Going on living as though this is it, although knowing that all this is temporary. The permanent stuff is on a larger level neglected or shoved under the rug. We believe in God and life after death and reincarnation and karma but we live in a manner that this life is it. We know that in a blink of an eye, destiny and intentions can change, but we go about with eyes shut.
Where little happiness can be embraced, we wait for a larger piece of the pie. When the larger portion is offered, we want a little more and eventually when that is given, we want it all. We are miserable as now we want another pie itself. When we are about to die, moments before the spirit leaves the battered body, I wonder if we are going to remember our bank balance or the position of power or one’s looks or strength. I am sure we are going to wonder if there is a life after this body is dropped. If one has lived a life worthy of the next. If the next is going to be miserable due to the ramifications of our Free Will and the hurt one has caused and if only there was a little time more, one would have spread more happiness amongst one’s lot.
Death is a certainty. There is a section of Buddhists, who every morning after they wake up, lie on the bed, shut their eyes, and imagine their own death. Visualise the last moments before the spirit leaves the body. Sees their loved ones or nobody holding their hands. Those with whom one has loved or fought with all present and looking down at you, hoping that you overcome death. Then you become a bystander to one’s own last rites till the body is cremated or buried. Each morning they imagine this whole process of death. The purpose is simple. By witnessing one’s death, it makes one’s resolve to live the true life, stronger. When you remind yourself each day that someday one is going to pass over, priorities in one’s life change for the better. One becomes more compassionate, more liberal, more understanding, more forgiving and large hearted and starts using each moment in a far more positive and constructive manner, as who knows that day could be one’s very last day.
Sometimes it is important to know how to die, to understand how to live. Death, is a transformation. Each day can be used as a means of transformation. If one wears the clock of transformation well, one can exude the fragrance of life in a more humane manner.
There is only one truth about life. It never ends. Change, as Lord Krishna says in the Gita, is the greatest reality. There is only one permanence, and that is when one merges with The One…otherwise permanence too is the greatest myth. There is a saint in every sinner and in every sage there is a sinner waiting to fug up.
The car is rental. Get over it.
Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha